1250 Broadway, 27th Floor New York, NY 10001

NO PERMITS REQUIRED FOR PRE-EXISTING SIGNS

6103 15th Avenue in Brooklyn. Image : Yelp.

Buildings charged new owner with installing business signs without permits. In June 1998 Tovia Fleischman acquired two buildings in Brooklyn located at 6103 and 6106 15th Avenue. The properties house Fleischman’s kitchenware wholesale business.

On January 17, 2017 a Department of Buildings investigator reported a business sign on one of the buildings which read “Kerekes Bakery & Restaurant Supplies” and a second sign reading “Visit our Showroom across the Street 6103 15 Ave.” The signs were approximately 48 and 28 square feet in area respectively, exceeding the size authorized under the Administrative Code. The investigator served Fleischman with a summons charging that Fleischman lacked permits for the signs. A hearing officer upheld the summons.

On appeal Fleischman argued that the signs pre-existed his purchase of the property, and did not require additional permits. Fleischman also argued that res judicata barred Buildings from retrying this issue based on a prior case involving 6103 15th Avenue. Fleischman relied on affidavits from friends, neighbors, and long term residents, all of whom testified their familiarity with the signs prior to Fleischman’s 1998 purchase of the buildings.

The Appeals Board ruled in favor of Fleischman. It found that the submitted affidavits were sufficiently detailed, despite imperfect descriptions, to establish that the signs were a pre-existing condition. The Appeals Board dismissed the summons.

NYC v. Fleischman, OATH Appeal No. 1700649, (Aug. 3, 2017). CityADMIN

By: Leon Morabia (Leon is a student at New York Law School, Class of 2019)

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